David Johnston

How to Compose Intimate Scenes

David Johnston
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Duration:   3  mins

When you are outside exploring nature, your tendency is to photograph the landscape, beautiful wide shots of lakes, forests. and majestic skies. Yet there is a much smaller world of photographic opportunity: intimate scenes. In this video, professional nature photographer David Johnston takes you through the process of photographing these intimate scenes.

David defines intimate scenes as closeups of plants, grasses, and wildflowers that include minute details. He takes you to a pond carpeted with lily pads and walks around the pond looking for groupings of lilies that comprise arranged shapes. You will learn to design intimate scenes divided into pairs and triplets in order to create balanced patterns that draw in your viewer. While learning to work with the circular patterns and lines. you will also learn how to recognize the predominant shape. Going handheld, David shoots the lily pads from different angles. With intimate scenes, the idea is to experiment, tilting the camera, shooting from a high angle or low.

David stresses that shooting intimate scenes can be fun. When he is on a field trip, David photographs the large landscapes first, then narrows his focus to nature’s small world. Whether in wide shots or closeups, the photographic principles are the same. It’s a matter of seeing in a different way. Intimate scenes can be anything: rocks, trees, leaves, prairie grass. David illustrates through examples of his own closeup pictures.

Join pro photographer David Johnston for ideas and techniques on how to photograph natural intimate scenes, a creative way to express yourself as an artist and photographer.

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